I gave a talk the other night to the NZ Music Managers Forum. Broadly speaking, it was about how music can benefit from social media. However, I tried to focus on how to engage, rather than the tools.
The overarching points I made were:
· Have a goal
· Get everyone on the same page
· Choose the platform wisely
People in the music industry tend to have artistic minds. But music is still a product and there needs to be an end-game. Increasingly, this doesn’t mean selling more singles or albums. It could mean merchandise or it could mean selling the songs to advertising agencies. I gave the example of US artist Santigold, who sold 75% of her debut album for beer and hair commercials. Maybe this isn’t the dream that musicians had when they were growing up, but the commercial reality is that it is a great alternative for business success and sustainability.
I talked about how music shouldn’t be free, but that it is competing with free and the industry needs to come to terms with this fact. Let me tell you an example that shocked me. Spotify is a music streaming service, unfortunately not available in NZ. You choose the music from almost every song ever made and it plays an ad every ten minutes or so. About a year ago they offered an ad-free alternative for just ten pounds (approximately $22) a month. I think that’s a great deal, but only 5% chose to pay. This shows the shift in consumer perceptions around music.
What’s the outtake? Adapt or die, basically.
I mentioned how the monetization of social networks has to, and will, improve. Just look at the advancements made by Facebook.
I went on to discuss how the categorization of people on music related social sites offers more opportunities than the sites where all people do is talk. This is indicative of how the social web will surely move forward in the next 12-24 months to be more personalised and therefore more relevant.
Ultimately, social media offers musicians the opportunity to be closer to fans. This is great because fans love to feel part of the experience. Just take a look at this example from The Pixies over in the UK for music industry innovation in action.
The lesson we can learn as communicators is that you must always think about how we are adding value – why will the customers (or ‘fans’) want to engage and buy into what we are doing? And, furthermore, does this tie into a genuine business outcome? Don’t worry about being across all the channels if these two points aren’t both answered convincingly.
I could go on about more of the presentation. But then this blog post would be like a novel and we don’t want that.
To read the full presentation, including my notes, please go to the NZ Music Managers Forum site where you can download it.
If you’ve come across any cool examples of social media and music in symphony, please let me know.